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The Main Difference Between Twitter and Plurk (to me)

Over the last week I’ve been experimenting with a social messaging/micro blogging service called Plurk. Over the last week I’ve seen many comparisons between it and Twitter – but wanted to show one of the main differences that I’ve observed:

To illustrate let me show you a ‘tweet’ and a ‘plurk’ message that I posted an hour ago:

I shot this question out to my ‘followers/friends’ on both services – “What is the #1 reason that you blog?”

The response was instantaneous on both services. I got great replies on both. There were many more Twitter answers than Plurk ones – but that is because I have around 10 times as many ‘friends’ on Twitter as I do on Plurk.

However there is one main difference….

The responses that emerged on Twitter were a whole lot of individuals responding to me in isolation. Your followers on Twitter don’t know what other people have answered.

On Twitter I saw this page a few minutes after I asked the question:

Picture 2.png

There’s some great responses there – (and there were another 60 or so) but the problem is I was the only person who saw them ALL.

On Plurk the responses are all grouped together – not only for you to see but for your followers to see also.

Here’s the beginning of the responses on Plurk a few minutes after I plurked:

Picture 6.png

If you scrolled down further you see that I added a followup question – something that people responded to in the thread:

Picture 7.png

You can actually view the full Plurk conversation on this page.

This style of conversation means that everyone benefits from the whole conversation – not just me. It means that it’s not unusual for conversations to emerge between your friends as well as between you and your individual friends.

The other thing that I like about Plurk is that conversations are contained and don’t get as mixed up as they do on Twitter.

10 minutes after asking the question on Twitter my ‘replies’ page contained all kinds of messages. Some were still responding to the first question I asked, some to the followup, others were responding to earlier tweets, some had moved on to new topics with me….

Which is Best?

This is the question I’m being asked more and more. Is Plurk ‘better’ than Twitter? My answer is generally that I think both are great. You see there are times where the more communal, multidirectional conversation that Plurk offers is brilliant – but there are other times where you don’t necessarily need it and where the more one on one conversation is more effective.

I also get the feeling that while there is a definite overlap between Twitter and Plurk in terms of who is using them – that there’s a different kind of person using each one. Plurk seems to have emerged out of a younger crowd than Twitter – perhaps this is more useful in some circumstances also.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I think twitter and plurk are a great idea and all that, but I feel that they generally aren’t the best thing to get into, especially if you’re just starting out.
    I basically stay logged in all day and maybe tweet twice or thrice thats about it for me.
    I think they can quickly develop into a bad habit and its easy to forget that – for a blogger – such tools are simple ‘means to an end’ not ‘ends’ in them selves.
    Don’t know what everyone else thinks.

  2. Both seem to be ways to spend alot of time chatting. I’m still not convinced it is the best way to spend our time.

  3. I’m thinking that Twitter is better not just for one-on-one, but social groups that are self-contained to an extent. There’s very little self-contained communication on Plurk.

  4. @Tejvan it depends on person for some Twitter or Plurk or any other social and Micro blogging sites are time pass activity but for number of user it is way of communication

  5. The real question is, is Plurk actually up %90+ of the time. For that reason alone it might be worth consideration.

    Btw, if you want to add me on twitter I’m at http://twitter.com/jonathanmead

  6. Muscle Post says:

    Thanks for the comparison of these two services. I don’t use either right now, but I’m thinking about starting to use one of them. I’m still not entirely sold on the concept though…I don’t know if I want to be THAT connected to my blog ALL the time. We’ll see.

  7. Live Crunch says:

    I like plurks conversation better, where for u twitter might work better because you have about 10x more people then I do.

    @LiveCrunch

    Ttyl

  8. Nils Geylen says:

    Isn’t that what Quotably was supposed to be for?

    In any case, can you tell, was there a difference in the style or value of the answers?

    Somehow, these replies (and thus the image I have of both services) is that Twitter is more professional, mature, serious… Plurk less so…

    That true in your opinion?

  9. Phil Nash says:

    I agree with Joel, watching @replies between your friends on Twitter is nice to converse in a self contained group. I haven’t tried Plurk yet though.

    @Jonathan Mead: Twitter has an uptime of 98%. But hey, whatever :P
    http://www.pingdom.com/reports/wx4vra365911/check_overview/?name=Twitter.com

  10. WTJ says:

    I still prefer twitter.

  11. Tim Brownson says:

    @ Tejvan – is ANY of this the best use of our time mate? ;-)
    In fact is life the best use of our time?

    I am interested to read that Twitter is an older crowd, that is enough to keep me planted there even if I do have to endure pictures of cute whales being carried around by happy rather insane looking birds way too often.
    .
    Follow me on http://twitter.com/TimBrownson or maybe not.

  12. Plurk is just MORE FUN. Not only are Darren’s observations about the conversation true, but Plurk has made social media into a fun game with karma points. The more you participate, the more you earn, which unlocks great stuff like new emoticons.

    And speaking of emoticons, Plurk has them and Twitter doesn’t.

    Follow me on Twitter

    Friend me on Plurk

  13. Jeff says:

    Sounds like Plurk follows the conversational model that made blogs (via commenting) so popular. So, maybe Plurk is a more thoughtful development. In that case, it may very well surpass Twitter at some point…or, more likely, some new tool will come along that aggregate all conversations among all these types of things.

  14. Eric says:

    I’m one of these guys that thought that being on one service was enough. Now am signed up for Plurk :) Thanks!

    Renkai on Plurk

  15. raj says:

    And that might be exactly why I found Plurk to be more “friendly” than Twitter, despite having 1/6th the followers on Plurk – in terms of strangers responding. On the flipside, I have more regular conversations with specific people on Twitter.

    I like them both, but for different reasons that I can’t quite put into words.

    twitter: http://www.twitter.com/talespinner
    plurk: http://www.plurk.com/user/talespinner

  16. Great post. I think the conversation aspect is king as well. Personally I am done with twitter. I don’t like parties where I have to shout across a loud room and then maybe get some replies back when I’m on something else. I find plurk much more refined.

    Some say plurk is overwhelming. Wasn’t driving standard really if not IMPOSSIBLE 1st time you tried? Now it’s second nature but you have way more control. Same with Plurk.

    TBH I have logged in to twitter 3 or 4 times since the 4thof June finding Plurk.

  17. Young says:

    I doubt that whether Plurk will have the same problem–out of work because of too many members–that twitter has had?

  18. PPC Fool says:

    Oh no … another microblogging site :) how many more are going to follow?

    Good observation though, there was something that bothered me about twitter, but couldnt figure it out. Comparing it to plurk I can see it more clearly…

    twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ppcfool

  19. D.F. Rucci says:

    Never really been on both, but I’ve checked them out. Plurk looks more appealing to me.

  20. Plurk has the format I like..

  21. redwall_hp says:

    Twitter is a tool. Plurk is a toy. Plurk as a weird interface, spammy lower-quality postings, and seems to be a race to get more points (karma, I believe they call their ranking).

  22. Starfeeder says:

    I like both, but I see them filling 2 different roles, with Twitter I decided not to fan anyone and just make it a 1 way voice out for my blog.

    Thus far I have 106 followers on Twitter which are able to get my twits (which is basically my RSS feed)

    On Plurk I like it more cause it does stimulate more conversation and followers/fans/friends have more meaning I think…

    Also that Question you asked, I think alot of people are giving you the politically correct answer.

    “To have something to say”
    “To be a part of something”
    “To support world peace”

    lol… I mean nothing wrong with that of course, but I don’t blog 24-7, most the time at work, ignore family for world peace. And I suspect a lot of other bloggers don’t either.

    I’m 29 and I do not see myself, no I WILL NOT be stuck in a cube for the next 20 years… hell no!

    Not that statement without action is of course useless, I’m using everything I’ve learned and still learning, my extreme passion for my topic to grow my blog and eventually create business models around it.

    I feel a lot more of the bloggers that responded to that question feel the same way, or want to.

  23. Starfeeder says:

    I like both, but I see them filling 2 different roles, with Twitter I decided not to fan anyone and just make it a 1 way voice out for my blog.

    Thus far I have 106 followers on Twitter which are able to get my twits (which is basically my RSS feed)

    On Plurk I like it more cause it does stimulate more conversation and followers/fans/friends have more meaning I think…

    Also that Question you asked, I think alot of people are giving you the politically correct answer.

    “To have something to say”
    “To be a part of something”
    “To support world peace”

    lol… I mean nothing wrong with that of course, but I don’t blog 24-7, most the time at work, ignore family for world peace. And I suspect a lot of other bloggers don’t either.

    I’m 29 and I do not see myself, no I WILL NOT be stuck in a cube for the next 20 years… hell no!

    Now that statement without action is of course useless, I’m using everything I’ve learned and still learning, my extreme passion for my topic to grow my blog and eventually create business models around it.

    I feel a lot more of the bloggers that responded to that question feel the same way, or want to.

  24. I am drawn towards Plurk and its model, but that is a personality thing. Twitter and I never clicked.

    Now if I can’t get anyone to use Plurk….

  25. Plurk will rock. I haven’t used twitter a lot. I will try plurk and see how it works.

  26. Natalie says:

    I love Plurk for its quirky social nature, it’s just like being invited to 40 (in my case) different conversations, and it suits my very fractured mind right now at moments when I need to let off steam.

    (and, yay! I’m starring in a screenshot)

  27. sandossu says:

    I enjoy them both, but people seem to take Twitter more serious, while using Plurk just for fun.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I see in my profile.

  28. Mark Frost says:

    Aw, I posted my response on Pownce. ^_^

  29. Kara says:

    I love the Plurk interface…Just signed up yesterday but I already see the challenge in getting contacts there. I think I’m going to use it as a way to chart my three most important tasks of the day with a few moods interspersed…might change directions when/if I get contacts. I’m finally seeing more conversational value in Twitter. It’s fun.

  30. Both are really great services,
    but Plurk is better for me ;)

  31. junyor says:

    Your post has made me rethink my opinion of plurk, I still think the karma idea is crazy and the timeline is weird, but I guess it has its uses. Agree with redwall_hp that twitter is a better “tool” and plurk a better “toy”.

  32. Scabr says:

    Twitter + Quotably + Summize – better than Plurk ( for me )

  33. I haven’t gotten into either of them, however, if I did, based on this review I would probably go with Plurk – seems like more of a community conversation and easier to communicate with larger volumes of people.

  34. Phil Baumann says:

    Insightful points. I just don’t know if plurk has what it takes to survive (Twitter at least seems to have failure & plump wales on its side so far). You nailed the idea that Plurk offers a better conversational interface, but I think if Twitter folds that feature or if clients do that, then Twitter once again will prevail.

    Plurk is fun, for sure. Space Invaders meets Whack-a-Mole might not be the future for most adopters. Could be, but I think Twitter offers a more pliant springboard for the kinds of interaction we want out of social tools like these.

    If Twitter provided an option where a Tweet could become a conversational room (where the user permits an open join for that particular Tweet) it could out-do Plurk. By miles.

  35. In your usual, awesome observations, this is great! And a definite nugget for online marketers evaluating both services.

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  36. Ria says:

    Thanks for addressing my question, Darren. The issue for me is that I just don’t have time or want to spend time updating more than one microblog. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with Twitter alone!

    I love the networking and connectivity that both offer but if you had to choose one, which would it be?

  37. Matt Brian says:

    Plurk is what I was waiting for. I have surpassed my total Tweets on Plurk in one week.

    The ability to join in other peoples conversations, view new plurks instantly without a refresh is a massive plus.

    I think the success of Plurk will depend on the release of their API. If Firefox and Air apps can be created to take the service beyond the browser, Plurk could be a real challenger.

    There is a sidebar addon, a WordPress plugin and someone has successfully ported Plurk into a desktop program using C. It’s coming…http://www.plurk.com/p/b1gs

  38. I’ve just started using Plurk, but it seems very busy to me at the moment. I haven’t quite got a grasp on it yet, but we’ll see how things go.

  39. Now after reading this Darren, I’m just going to have to experiment with Plurk. Thanks for the showing the value/difference between the two.

  40. Nicole says:

    I do like the Plurk way of keeping a conversation together, but what I like about Twitter is you can see a conversation already in progress that you might want to jump into. You might just catch one thing someone said 10 lines down and jump in. With Plurk, you would have to click on each individual Plurk and read each one to see if you had something to contribute. Way more time consuming (even with as few followers/followees as I have. I don’t like how you really don’t know the whole conversation until you click on the Plurk.

    Example conversation:

    Nicole feels hungry
    Jane says try Subway
    John says Check out this really good article about Tomatoes being recalled

    All you see is “Nicole feels hungry” and if you don’t have much time, you likely won’t click on that one.

    With Twitter, you might catch the tomato being recalled after you stepped away from your computer, at least.

  41. Darren, great correllation here… I think you really nailed the isolationist issue with Twitter. It’s a great broadcast, but I really feel like it’s a lot of people talking really loud… I think for this reason, Plurk is more fun and Twitter is more about promoting yourself – from my meager experience.

    I wrote a post about about 2 weeks ago here: http://www.changeforge.com/2008/06/03/twitter-ego-plurk-fun/

    I don’t think Twitter is bad, just different in its application. Also, the conversation on Twitter is not as substantial just yet, but in only 2 weeks, I am beginning to see a more tigh knit community and deeper discussions – well as deep as a “chat room” application can give you at least.

  42. GettyCash says:

    Just created account with Plurk. I have never used it before. Twitter is a nice tool for business use.

  43. Maria says:

    I have never used Twitter, and hadn’t heard about Plurk until this post. Based on what you write here, Plurk seems like a better service, IMO.

  44. Ben Jacob says:

    Another main difference between those two are the downtime..
    Users will not get a downtime like Twitter’s anywhere else

  45. Leigh Ann says:

    Thank you for this post. A lot of people have been talking about trying Plurk on Twitter, but I hadn’t yet seen a comparison of the two like this. It’s helpful.

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor

  46. Leigh Ann says:

    Woops … put the wrong link into the Website box. This is the right one. Doh.

  47. ChinaMatt says:

    I guess I’ll have to give plurk a try. I’m really getting into all the new internety thingies slowly lately… and I know I used a lot of Ys there.

  48. arshad says:

    plurk is better than twitter . i tried twitter earlier but got bored in a day but plurk is exciting .i like the interface it provides .

  49. Heath says:

    I found plurk a real pain to find people. I found some friends but thats because I knew their id’s already from an announcement on twitter. The message time line was a bit confusing at first but after using it for a short while it made sense and is easier to follow than twitters. I went to enable the mobile messaging in plurk, OOPS it’s not available. That to me is what makes twitter so useful right now. I get all of my updates on my phone. I rarely twitter while at my computer.

  50. Cesar NOel says:

    Well I would agree that both services are great but in terms of “organized” I think Plurk would win outright.